What I Learned After Reading "Around the Way Girl" (Taraji P. Henson)

Hello readers! For the past month and some change, my book club members and I had the delicious chance to indulge in reading Taraji P. Henson's memoir Around the Way Girl and if I wasn't a fan before...I damn sure am now! By the way, I'm naturally long-winded when telling a story...so this blog may be a long one..or not. But I promise, the sparkling keys I'm about to hand over to you, will be worth the read!

After viewing the new movie #BookClub, my bookies and I trodded over to Prospect Park, a sports bar to discuss the read over good food, drinks, and vibes. It wasn't until after our discussion that I realized that Taraji dropped a lot of life-altering gems that stayed with me and that I'd like to elaborate on and share here.

First things first, is her relationship with her father. Her connection with her father is probably the best connection I've read throughout the book despite the fact that she didn't even grow up with him in the house that she was primarily raised by her mother in. The lessons she learned from him, regardless of how the world treated him, or the mistakes he made, or the loud, unfiltered, authentic personality he had are lessons all young girls need in life.

The quote that I'd like to point a magnifying glass at is:

"I learned to never, ever apologize for who I am--to never apologize for my journey,"

Why? I felt like this quote set the tone for the entire book. It portrays Taraji's genetic makeup to the fullest. She stayed true to herself, never changed to "fit in", never tried to conform. When she began to embrace who she was, that's when the blessings begin pouring in and her life long dreams began to align together...

If you are an over-thinker, a go-with-the-flow type, an artist, an athlete, a writer, a believer, a follower, a runner, a single mother, a daughter without a father, a girl with anxiety, a man with a broken heart, an over-emotional type, a person who bottles everything inside...it doesn’t matter where you come from or what burdens you carry—you need to stop apologizing for who you are.

This is a confusing world. There are so many wonderful things and people, but so much imperfection. There will be moments that build you up and moments that will feel like it broke you, love that makes you falter and love that makes your heart sing.

There will be people you learn from and people you lose, pain you experience, and crazy beautiful euphoria that makes you forget everything else.

But in all of this, you will grow.

You will shift, you will change, you will try to find your path, and you will create yourself, again and again as you go. This is normal. This is life.

Unfortunately, as this happens, you will come across opposition. You will meet people whose personalities won’t mesh well with yours, you will meet individuals who disagree or even those folk who just flat-out don't you (haters). And you will think you have to change for them.

But you don’t. Ever.

You will forever be changing, but not for another person. Not for the sake of making things easier, not because you feel forced, and not because of love.

Your existence on this earth is impermanent and your time is too short to let others’ opinions change the way you feel about yourself.

So don’t let them.

Being a real and flawed individual is way better than to be the person the world wants you to be. In the process of pleasing the people of this world, you are losing yourself, you are killing your own identity, and you are tarnishing your own shine.

Remember that the world doesn’t like you to be yourself because when you realize who you really are, you will know that you are more than them, that you are more than the words and insult they throw at you. You will realize that you are the long lost star of this universe and this world is keeping you below the ground because they don’t want you to know what your real purpose in this world is.

At the end of the day, stop apologizing for who you are and just be. Be silly, be strange, be happy, be crazy, be independent, be in love, be unafraid, be nervous, be strong, be okay with leaning on someone else. Be whatever the hell you want. Just fuggin' be you!

That concludes the word from our girl Taraji.

xoxo Nailah

BTW! Meet 2/4 of my bookies Anna and Ashley! We had such a damn good time discussing life and books on yesterday evening, that we forgot to snap some pics! No worries, I'll be blogging about our fun adventures and all the life lessons we learn from the amazing books we read! Our newest book of the month is: Sexual Healing by Allison Hobbs. We're stepping over into the world of erotic fiction with this one! Stay tuned!